Hello everyone,
Good news yesterday!  The Government apologised to homosexual New Zealanders and introduced their Bill on Expungement for Historical Homosexual Offences.

Watch the video of the government apology using this link: https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ ondemand?itemId=196109
Here is reportage of the apology from the 1NEWSNOW website Justice Minister Amy Adams delivered the apology in Parliament before the first reading of a bill that will expunge historic convictions for homosexual acts.

“It is never too late to apologise,” Ms Adams said.  “While we cannot ever erase the injustice, this apology is a symbolic but important act.  It’s unimaginable today that we would criminalise consensual sexual activity between adults.”

The 1961 Crimes Act outlawed male sex, whether it was consensual or not.  The Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 legalised consensual sex between men aged 16 and older.  Speaking on the bill that will expunge men with criminal records who were convicted of homosexual acts, Adams said there were estimated around 1000 people who would be eligible.

“This bill seeks to address the ongoing stigma, prejudice and other negative effects arising from the conviction for a historical homosexual offence by creating a statutory scheme for a convicted person, or a representative of that person if that person is deceased, to apply to have the conviction expunged,” Adams said.

“It is clear that the laws under which the men affected were convicted have not represented the views of most New Zealanders for many years and it’s right that we formally recognise that.

“I cannot think of any other situation where a Government in this country would seek to rewrite criminal histories based on changes in societal views.”  “It would be as if the conviction never existed.”

Rainbow Wellington have also made a statement – thank you Paul Barber for bringing this to my attention
Statement for Homosexual Convictions Apology Thursday, 6 July 2017, 2:15 pm   Press Release: Rainbow Wellington
Rainbow Wellington, as a representative of the LGBTQIAP+ community in New Zealand, welcomes the apology from the government to those affected by convictions for consensual homosexual activity before the Homosexual Law Reform Act was introduced in 1986.
Rainbow Wellington has a long history of ensuring the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and other sexual and gender minorities in New Zealand.

Many community members were affected directly by this discriminating law; it is estimated that around 1000 men still hold convictions for this homophobically defined crime. What this apology fails to recognise is the effect that this law had on parts of the wider LGBTQIAP+ community that lies outside of the ‘gay’ identity label. This law created a hateful environment and a stigma around all non-heterosexual sexualities and non-cis-gender identities, such as lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other queer identities.

Rainbow Wellington expresses sorrow for all the victims of this unjust law and hopes that with this historical apology, a small part of their defamed human dignity will be restored. It is hoped that the victims will find peace with this change. However, until this day, this criminal law is a taboo for the people involved as there is still shame attached to the homophobic ordeals through which they suffered.

Rainbow Wellington has faith that this action will build trust between the victims and the government who discriminated against them.
Furthermore, it should be expected that with this apology, the government will pay closer attention to the current day struggles that the LGBTQIAP+ community faces, including discrimination in access to healthcare, blood donation, transphobia in government services, lack of funding to community groups, high rates of youth suicide, and a lack of support services.

Former Rainbow Wellington board member Werimu Demchick sponsored a petition that was part of Rainbow Wellington’s campaign for a pardon and an apology from the government, a campaign which has lasted around two years.

Rainbow Wellington would also like to remember the victims who are not alive to hear this historical apology and hopes that they are resting in peace.

Rainbow Wellington continues to be the home of the LGBTQIAP+ community and allies and encourages anyone who needs support to reach out and know that they have a home to which they belong. www.facebook.com/rainbowwgtn

And so have we: St Andrew’s on The Terrace welcomes the Government apology to homosexual men convicted prior to 1986. 
In its life as a faith community, St Andrew’s welcomes anyone from the rainbow communities.  We enjoy the fact that in our complex of buildings many lgbtqiap+ people are part of the crowd.

We at St Andrew’s have for many years battled within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand to achieve equality.  We will continue to press for reforms which match that of the wider society.  Key leaders in this movements in the past have been Rev John Murray and Rev Dr Margaret Mayman.  Our present Minister, Rev Dr Susan Jones, is committed to leading this faith community in inclusive directions.  We continue to challenge the wider church to cease its present discriminatory practice.

We deeply regret and grieve the pain and suffering which gay men, their families and their wider networks suffered as the result of living in a country which ruled homosexual acts were illegal.  Instead, they should have been able to celebrate life and love.  As heterosexual New Zealanders were able to do.  We especially grieve lives lost because of prejudice and discrimination.

We urge the Government to make sure that in future men convicted prior to 1986 are able to access pardons simply and easily so injustice is not perpetuated.

St Andrew’s affirms all people are equally deserving of freedom and dignity.  Who is in any particular relationship is less important than that those relationships are loving, non-violent and mutual.  Our understanding of religion, of God and of church is that all are included.

On Sunday we celebrate another apology – the Crown apology to Parihaka.  Ken Irwin, Ben Gray and Lynne Dovey are collaborating on leading us for the Gathering.

Afterwards there will be no congregational conversation but people who help with sound and any others wanting to join this team are having a workshop with a sound expert, Martyn Kaufman.  It begins at 11.45am.

On the following Sunday, July 16, there is a congregational meeting after church at 11.30am to discuss restoring the organ and the creation of a dedicated fund for this.
See you Sunday! Susan

St Andrew’s Parish News…

The purpose of the meeting is to consider next steps regarding the restoration of the organ and to vote on a resolution to set up a dedicated fund.

In the rest of July, we will reflect how God images occur in popular music, art and the movies:  July 16, ‘Where is God on your Playlist?’  July 23, ‘What images of God stir your soul?’  July 30, ‘Who is God in the movies?’

Over the next two Sundays (July 9 and 16), super, NEW activity bags will be available in church, some geared for younger children and others for older children.  All children are more than welcome, as usual.  We hope to introduce the new Rainbow Room Coordinator to the congregation on Sunday 23 July.

SPIRITED CONVERSATION  – Tuesday 18 July  at 6.15pm
Soup and sandwich $10 pp. Speaker: “Red Cross staff member and former Iranian refugee Yousef Mazraeh who has started up free Arabic lessons for Wellingtonians.  Through his time with the Red Cross, Yousef observed how much difference learning a few phrases in another language can make in breaking the ice and improving the integration of new arrivals and decided to start the classes to meet the demand among Red Cross volunteers to learn and give back to the Wellington community.” (Ref.Dompost March 20, 2017) RSVP by filling in the sheet on the Blue clipboard t eh back of the church or email pjfller@gmail.com or phone 475 8240.

Let Us Entertain You is the first fundraising events for the restoration of the heritage organ at St Andrew’s.  Featuring Jane Keller, with Michael Nicholas Williams on piano and Peter Franklin on the organ.  Jane Keller delights with hilarious highlights from her four one-woman cabaret shows.  Cash bar available on the night.  Bring a friend!

On three occasions this election year St Andrew’s presents the issues to the general public. Keep these dates free and make sure you invite others.  Events held 5.30 to 7pm on Monday July 10 Housing. Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson and others.  Tuesday 15 August Fair Incomes for NZ. Paul Barber and Max Rashbrooke and others. Thursday 31 August, 6-7.30pm (note different time) we host political candidates for the Centre for Theology and Political Issues’ series ‘Keeping Faith in Politics’

A volunteer opportunity to consider from Ben Gray:  The Wellington Welfare Guardian Trust has been set up to train and support volunteers to act as Welfare Guardians for people who lack capacity and have no Enduring Power of Attorney in place and no one willing to be their Welfare Guardian. The role of the Welfare Guardian is to make decisions in relation to health and welfare (and not property and money) for the subject person. We are seeking people willing to volunteer to be trained to fulfil this function when applications are received from the carers of subject persons. Our system is based on the successfully running Otago Welfare Guardian Trust. More detail can be found at https://welfareguardians.nz/ For further information contact Megan Bibby (administrator) or Ben Gray (Chair) at wwgt@gmail.com

This is an early notice to call for Volunteers to bake Christmas Cakes, Gingerbread or Christmas novelties to raise funds for the Organ Fund.  Baking from October – selling marketing in November-December.  Calling for bakers, marketers and sellers, donators of ingredients (including the 1/2 cups of brandy/spirits left in the bottle neglected in the back of the cupboard).  Recipes and baking tins can be supplied.  Volume of project will depend on the number of Volunteers.   Will need help to market and sell goodies particularly in December. We do best from internal sales and a stall at lunch time on The Terrace.  Contact Maxine Cunningham txt 0274894348, email jimax117@gmail.com

Jenny Simpson writes; “MS Collection Day is coming up soon. In Wellington it is Wednesday 30 August.  I would be really grateful for anyone able to collect for an hour or so at either Thorndon New World or Chaffers St New World.  All collection funds go to the field workers, not admin etc.  Please call Jenny Simpson Ph 389 9426 or email simpsath@xtra.co.nz ”

October will be Reformation Month at St Andrew’s,
Sunday October 1 to Sunday October 29 (Reformation Sunday).
October 1       Why?
What theological changes led to the Protestant Reformation?
October 8       Where?
Reformation in the context of Europe and Scotland
October 15    Who?
Reformers of the Reformer’ Wall, Geneva
October 22    How?
Printing and the Reformation
October 29    What?
Differences Reformation has made to the world and the church.
This may make you plan to be at church during October – or plan to stay away!  I hope it will be the former!  Susan

Wider Church and Community News…

A public lecture series by Professor Gillian E Clark. In this lecture series, Professor Clark examines Augustine’s central, most influential and contested ideas, exploring their context and origins and assessing their enduring significance.  Each lecture will take place in the Council Chamber, Hunter building, Gate 2 Kelburn Parade.  Tuesday 15 August, 5.30-6.45pm Peace and Empire.  Wednesday 16 August, 5.30-6.45pm Where does evil come from?  Thursday 17 August, 5.30-7pm What happens in a life?  Professor Clark is also the speaker at the Presbytery Gathering at St Johns in The City 18-20 August.

DCM Bookfair, – Call for Volunteers
DCM’s annual, fundraising Bookfair is back and better than ever! The Bookfair will be held on Saturday 5 August, at Shed 6, Queen’s Wharf, from 8am-8pm, and we’re calling on your help to make it a huge success in 2017.  If you’re able to volunteer this year please get back to Matthew at DCM with the following info: Your details – Your name and cell phone number (if you have one) for on-the-day purposes When you’re able to help: – 1st shift, 7:30am-12:00pm – 2nd shift, 11:30am-4:00pm – 3rd shift, 3:30pm-8:00pm – Pack-down from 8:00pm (requires some heavy lifting) What you’d like to do: – Tills (handling cash transactions and bagging up books) – Floor (sales area, keeping tables tidy, etc.) – Handing out bags/maps at door – Crowd control/directing people – Publicity blitz (see note below) Our ‘publicity blitz’ requires helpers ahead of the Bookfair, and on the day itself. We need volunteers to help distribute flyers to homes throughout Wellington, and leave free ‘I Need a Home’ books at local businesses, cafés and community centres one month ahead of the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/304950303285729. Contact Matthew Mawkes at events@dcm.org.nz or ph (04) 384 7699.

On the evening of Wednesday 9 August, the Anglican and Catholic churches will co-host an election forum on the topic of housing.  This will be a fantastic event where we hear about housing challenges and political leaders’ proposed solutions. Please save the date! We would love for you to join us. More details to follow. We are also looking for volunteers to help plan and run the night. If you can help, please contact kate@wn.ang.org.nz.

On the weekend of 18-20 August 2017 Presbytery Central is holding a Gathering at St. John’s in the City, Wellington.  As the hosting region we would love to make a range of billeting options available for those attending the Gathering from out of town.  If you are able to offer a billet, could you please contact Rev Richard McLean on 04 – 233 8572 (office) or e-mail richard@ppp.org.nz   It would be helpful to give an indication of whether you could accommodate a single person, a couple, a family or a combination of these possibilities; if your offer is available for one or both nights (Friday/Saturday); and if you could help by transporting your guests to/from St John’s in the City if required.  Plan to attend the Gathering too.  Watch for more information to come.

We have a super programme: Teal Voices, Wellington Girls’ College Druz’ya Quartet – winner of the central regional chamber music context The Koloskatz – finalists in the Wellington regional chamber music context Nicole Thomas, a talented young flautist from Kapiti College Nikau Brass Quintet


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